Friday, September 22

Editorial – NAWEC, Total Impunity for the Peak of Incompetence

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Just a few hours to go, and the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) will succeed in keeping the Greater Banjul Area without electricity for 24 hours.

The truth is that electricity outages under NAWEC have never ceased to intoxicate the lives of hustling Gambians in Kombo Saint Mary’s Division. Every inhabitant of Kotu, Manjai, Kololi, Bakoteh, and the surroundings experiences the daily outages of Feeder 4. But, worst is the acute torment NAWEC imposes daily on the people in the Lower, Central, and Upper River regions.

All that NAWEC’s communications team could produce, on social media, to justify the day-long outage in KSMD is the first meager drops of water of the rainy season.

But NAWEC’s weak excuse does not hold water. In fact, it strengthens the perception of a reactionary company that anticipates little and survives every day on crisis management.

Take this flimsy excuse NAWEC has put forward on Wednesday. For example: “NAWEC hereby informs the general public that the current electricity outage is caused by a network fault on the Mile2/Mile5 link causing Karpower engines to trip for protection”.

According to NAWEC, “This is all due to the first rain of the season, with Wartsila and G1 at Brikama1 already on a planned maintenance.

NAWEC says, “G5 Kotu is also shut down today for a minor but necessary intervention and would not be available until tomorrow. We want to reassure the public that our engineers are working round the clock to address this issue”.

Basically, NAWEC is telling the world that virtually all its production capacity is currently down. The company’s management poorly planned a maintenance scheme that simultaneously reduces power generation by half in Kotu and Brikama. Not catering to an exogenous factor that could hit down the already weak power generation and transport infrastructure, or even a breakdown at Karpower.

For a company that keeps absolute darkness on its billing system and martyrizes its customers with expensive and yet erratic electricity supply, NAWEC symbolizes the moral decadence and lack of empathy the country’s leadership continues to have for the brave people of The Gambia.

Shame on all of you for not providing the electricity to the women who sell “wonjo” and ice cream to pay their kids’ school fees and lunch. Shame on you for not supplying electricity to the tailor, the mechanic, the welder man, the carpenter, and the honest hustlers who ask no money from corrupt politicians but simply ask to consume uninterrupted for the electricity they pay for cash.

And shame on anyone who claims that no one should complain about NAWEC martyrizing people in The Gambia. There is no legal recourse to redress the damages NAWEC causes on people. So all we are left with is to express our despair, loudly and clearly.